IWD Unveils Guidance for Employers and Employees on Unemployment Claims

April 30, 2020

On Monday, Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) issued a news release that provides more clarity for both employers and employees when it comes to unemployment claims related to COVID-19. The department states, “Iowans who have been placed on a temporary layoff related to COVID-19 but refuse to return to work when recalled by their employer will lose unemployment benefits, except for certain circumstances including:

  • If you have tested positive for COVID-19 and are experiencing symptoms; 
  • If you have recovered but it caused medical complications rendering you unable to perform essential job duties; 
  • If a member of your household has been diagnosed with COVID-19; 
  • If you are providing care for a member of your household who was diagnosed with COVID-19; 
  • If you do not have childcare due to COVID-19 reasons; or 
  • If you do not have transportation to your place of work because of COVID-19."

IWD goes on to say that “refusing to return to work when recalled for any other reason, or in an attempt to continue to draw unemployment benefits will be considered a 'voluntary quit,' which would disqualify a claimant from receiving benefits, including the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation benefit of $600/weekly.” ABI appreciates the department laying out guidance for employers and employees and will continue to work with the agency on this issue.

ABI also received information this week that Director Beth Townsend is not planning to charge employers’ accounts once the state unemployment trust fund balance is at $950 million; instead the “trigger” will be an opportunity to start looking at other measures and proposals to ensure the long-term health of the fund.